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Dragons' Den cast member Michael Wekerle buys El Mocambo

The El Mocambo was supposed to close its doors for good on Thursday night, but a new owner has put down a deposit on the legendary music venue.

Dragons’ Den cast member Michael Wekerle has purchased the club.

Wekerle was in the news recently when his rare Porsche burst into flames at a Caledon gas station.

CityNews has learned that the new owner intends to keep the El Mo as a music venue but with a complete renovation.

The club will be host to big-name acts, with capacity for 1,200 people. The second floor will hold 700 people while the first will accommodate 500.

The venue was put on the market in September, and Thursday night’s Light of Day concert, a Parkinson’s disease benefit, was to be its final show.

Current owner Sam Grosso put the famed palm tree and coconuts neon sign on eBay after announcing he and partner Marco Petrucci were selling the business. He has since taken the posting down.

Grosso, owner of the Cadillac Lounge and Petrucci, owner of 99 Sudbury, took over the El Mo in 2012 in the hopes of breathing new life into the venue, which had once played host to rock legends including The Rolling Stones, Blondie, U2, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Lou Reed and The Ramones.

 

But financial difficulties, as well as the changing music scene in Toronto, have seen that dream all but fade.

“At the El Mo, it is a concert venue where people are only going there right now to see live music or an event, so they’re not going there just to hang out there and have a bite to eat – which is what needs to happen for that place to be successful,” Grosso explained to CityNews when he put the club on the market.

There is no word on when the club will re-open.

Other famous acts at El Mo

  • Blondie
  • Tom Cochrane
  • Elvis Costello
  • Devo
  • Jimi Hendrix
  • Joan Jett
  • Meat Loaf
  • Queens of the Stone Age
  • The Ramones
  • U2
  • Stevie Ray Vaughan

What was your favourite act? Share your bands in the comments below.

With files from Christine Chubb and Diana Pereira